Last year, 1.2 billion people in the world lived without electricity, half of them in Sub-Saharan Africa . In two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries, less than 50 per cent of the population has access to power, while the average energy consumption per capita of the region is not enough to continuously power a single 50-watt lightbulb.
Both large and small businesses state that lack of reliable and accessible power is a significant barrier. Not only does it limit businesses ability to expand but also impacts healthcare and education outcomes which have long term implications for development on the continent.
Addressing the gap in power infrastructure is estimated to cost $10bn per year, almost 10 percent of the region’s GDP. Infrastructure investments are typically long and costly, however Africa’s growing youth population will increase its capacity to build infrastructure. As such, focusing investments on the power sector can help harness Africa’s economic potential.
This report explores how various actors can promote investment in Africa’s power sector. Through conversations with investors, development professionals, and industrial and individual consumers, it highlight the tools needed to increase access to reliable power. Ultimately, a mix of regulatory reforms, resource management, and regional cooperation could create an environment that attracts investment and fosters development on the continent.
As part of IGD’s Frontier 100 Forum in Cape Town, IGD and Business Fights Poverty launched a new report on June 2, 2015: “The New Africa – Closing Africa’s Energy Gap.”